From Mare's Nest

What's Inside This Issue?

  • Welcome to Hoofbeats from Mare's Nest
  • Learn More About Imprinting
  • Visit our New Website


Welcome to our new website which is dedicated to all things to do with safe and successful foaling and raising yearlings.

We feature the innovative Foal to Yearling Halter which was developed out of a combination of necessity and frustration. Our Thoroughbred-breeding farm, Mares' Nest, raises eight to ten foals a year. We, as anyone who has raised foals can attest, found it necessary to purchase numerous halters of various sizes in order to properly fit a growing foal. It was a constant challenge to find the correct size for the rapidly growing youngster. The design of the Foal to Yearling Halter allows a single leather halter to fit a foal of about two months of age until well into its yearling year.

Before I invented this halter, the process, which is familiar to all breeders, went something like this:

  • I would walk out into the pasture and see a foal which had outgrown its halter.
  • Then it was back to the barn to search for the next size halter.
  • In order to save time, I’d generally take out two or three halters, hoping that one would be a good fit.
  • Once a proper fit was found, it was adjusted and it was back to the barn with the remaining halters.
  • Then repeat the process in two or three months.
Multiply that process by eight or ten foals and it was a frustrating and costly experience.

There had to be a better method that would not only save time and money, and provide a better fitting halter for young horses. Our patented halter grows with the foal and solves an age-old problem. You don't even have to remove the halter from the foal in order to adjust the fit.

The Foal to Yearling Halter is available in two types. They are identical in design, but one is a single strap breakaway halter and the other is a very attractive double-stitched version.

I hope you find this website educational and interesting. I'll update it with relevant information and topics for horse breeders of all types. Currently we have pages dealing with your foals first month, next five months, first aid, wound care and the imprinting of newborn foals. We've also included a page dealing with the famous racehorse Seabiscuit. Future pages will discuss weaning, stallion selection, orphan foals, our Thoroughbred breeding farm, Mares’ Nest and breeding theories.

Lill & Bill

Dr. Robert Miller, in the early 1990’s, developed a methods of handling and training newborn foals, which he called “Imprinting”. Imprinting foals is not a new idea, but Dr. Miller has made it popular again. Native American horsemen used the technique centuries ago. They even went so far as to talk to the unborn baby in order to familiarize it to their voice. Dr. Miller produced a video describing the process. I highly recommend that anyone unfamiliar with the method, purchase and study the video.

Imprinting is a method of desensitizing the foal to the various stimuli it will encounter as a result of the training imposed upon it by its human handlers. It is generally accepted that a newborn foal can absorb more information shortly after birth than at any other time of its life.

Many practitioners insist that imprinting is only effective if done within the first hour or two after birth. Not to worry. Our experience, after many years of imprinting at Mares’ Nest, is that it is equally effective if done within twelve to twenty-four hours after birth.

What we do is to towel-dry the newborn foal, gently rubbing it all over its body, head and legs. Then we leave the stall and observe the mother and baby, allowing them to bond naturally and assuring that the foal nurses and gets the necessary colostrum. If the foal is born during daylight hours, the imprinting process can begin at that time. However, if it is a nighttime foaling, we do the imprinting the next morning.

Imprinting is best accomplished by a three-person team. One person holds the mare and reassures her that no harm will come to her baby. A second person gently holds the foal, quietly talking to it, while the third person does the actual imprinting.

If imprinting is done correctly, it is a wonderful tool. However, a poor job of imprinting can have a negative effect on the learning process. This is why some people do not like imprinting.

To learn more about the imprinting process, visit the imprinting article on our new website.

Thank you for visiting us via our e-zine. If you want more information about Mares' Nest, you can visit our website. We're so happy to be connecting to our friends in this exciting new way. Come on over and see what's new.

Click Here To Visit Foal To Yearling Halter Site

Single strap foal to yearling halter

Some people like the single strap halter. Find out if this Foal to Yearling Halter is the right one for you here.

double stitched, double strap foal to yearling halter.
Others prefer the double stitch, double strap Foal to Yearling Halter. Is this the halter for your foal?

Enjoy this great read, Seabiscuit ... the Rest of the Story.
Enjoy this terrific read, by Bill Nichols ...
Seabiscuit, the Rest of the Story. Order here.